Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Sometimes I wonder if God is weeping"

"Sometimes I wonder if God, or whomever is up there somewhere, is weeping. Or if he's mad as all get out."


Hi, Lil.

I kind of think it is neither. That we exist at all is such a miracle. That a gecko can move and breathe is an amazing overabundance of good fortune. There is no reason that such a thing must ever have happened, and yet it has. When a toad then shoots out her tongue and eats him it is not bad luck, it is absolutely imperative for life to go on. We have to die. Our bodies must fall apart. The earth itself must fall apart and rebuild and one day die entirely.  In the process it injures and kills millions. But it MUST. There is no cruelty in that, however much it torments us.

There are also cruelties and disasters caused by humans. That we have evolved to the point where we can cause destruction as well as care about it, but not to the point where we are willing to stop causing suffering, is not a shocking thing. Species of all sorts do terrible things without a blink of compassion; they just haven't had the ability to do it on such a large scale. That we have developed compassion and introspection is as startling as that we have developed the ability to see, or breathe, or in any way be alive.

We are blessed with the joy and passion and sorrow and rage that come with inheriting physical bodies in an astonishing universe, a universe and bodies that could not have been predicted and which we in no way "earned". The bodies, the suffering, the universe--all gifts. That we feel those emotions is amazing, though from the perspective of my pain it isn't always possible to see that. But if someone as subjective and human as I can occasionally get a glimpse of this, a god of the omniscient variety would be able to see it far more clearly. And if she wept, it would be as much with joy and awe and amusement and tenderness as with sorrow.

 Evolution takes a long time. Maybe we will make it to the next, desired spot of compelling and universal wisdom and compassion. But if we don't, it isn't that we have failed. It wasn't failure that caused mass extinctions many times in the history of the earth. It was a combination of factors including luck--the luck that brought those conditions together at that time. Just as the many times we have NOT gone extinct are a result of the combination of factors that led to our continuance--as an individual, a species, a biosphere.

To me, suffering, cruelty, destruction, and death are sad. I am still very attached to my life and to my perspective as a human who hurts and dies. But if I stand back and imagine all the worlds and universes beginning and ending and following so many different and similar paths, I am struck by the breathtaking wonder of it all, and my own sorrow and fear grow small and comforted. 

It is a huge thing that we are a part of. Unimaginably huge and inexpressibly beautiful. That we even try to figure it out is mind-boggling. That we can't is not surprising. Which is why I am grateful I have my breath to return to. When nothing else makes sense, there is a deep comfort in just noticing my breath, an ability and an experience which I share with all of you and in some form with every living being on earth. And, perhaps, beyond. What a luxury. What a joy.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Posture of the Infinite: She Likes It!


I just wanted to share with you Elisa's comments on "The Posture of the Infinite", the story I wrote for her (as a prize, using her prompts. See my interview with Bitten By Books).

Spoiler Alert!

You are right - the story isn't exactly what I prompted for, but I think that's a good thing.   :)

There were moments where the story reminded me of The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is one of my favorite stories from my time at University studying literature and history. I love the idea that Daya had great knowledge (and therefore power) with each life/species she experienced, and yet all she wanted was to help someone else. She didn't complain about an inability to control her fate, nor did she scheme for which incarnation she desired next, she just gave.

And I liked that as she transformed with each position, it symbolized each being she has been or will be. Which of course begs the question: is the posture of the infinite each pose you take, or is it the essence of your soul (no matter what form you've taken) in each lifetime? Personally, I feel her desire to interact with others in a positive matter is the Posture of the Infinite. Perhaps that's my rosy outlook on how humanity should be - I can't shake my naïveté sometimes - but that's what I got from Daya.

A fitting story to be dedicated to me, to be certain!

Thank you so much for tackling my prompt, the result was perhaps experimental and literary, but a great experiment at that.  

Elisa Jankowski

Now, to send the story out somewhere. (My, I'm lax.)